The Year in Food 2020: What Restaurants Opened and Closed in Lexington,...

The Year in Food 2020: What Restaurants Opened and Closed in Lexington, KY?

The Year in Food 2020

Births, Obits, and Transitions in Lexington, KY


2020 was an unpredictable year for food, liquor and restaurant news in Lexington.

Lexington’s food scene remains ever-changing each year and at no point has that been truer than during a global pandemic. But this year, we reported more births than obits, a surprising but heartwarming realization, during what has proven to be a challenging year for the industry.

For our Food Year in Review 2020, click here.


Year in Review: Births

Bandido Taqueria Mexicana, a Louisville based fast food Mexican chain, opened a Lexington location on South Upper Street in the Center-Court building.

Bazaar Eatery opened in the new Ethereal Brewing on Vine Street in April.

Bella Cafe & Grille opened on East High Street.

Boonedogs, a new artisanal hot dogs and sausage restaurant, found a home on Old Richmond Road.

Brevede, a new specialty coffee shop, opened on Manchester Street in the Distillery District.

Brewed opened on Malabu Drive.

BurgerFi found a home in the former site of Back Yard Burgers in Hamburg.

The Cattle Drive opened at Bluegrass Regional Marketplace.

Former UK men’s basketball team chef Chris Cain launched Daughter’s Southern, a food truck and catering company.

DV8 Kitchen opened a second location at The MET.

El Cid Mexican Restaurant opened in the former Sav’s Grill location on South Limestone.

El Patio, a new Mexican restaurant, opened on Richmond Road.

Elixir opened in the former Parlay Social on West Short Street.

Favor opened, tucked behind Arcadium on North Limestone.

The Futile Bakery opened on Waller Avenue.

Italxan Italian restaurant from the co-owners of Corto Lima, opened on the corner of West Main and Upper streets, inside the City Center development.

Greyline Station opened and became home to familiar and new concepts including Laura Lou Pâtisserie, Nourished Folks, Old North Bar, and a second Wilson’s Market.

Horse and Jockey opened in the former Cheapside and Ruddy Duck location.

Jefferson Street Coffee opened on Jefferson Street.

Joella’s Hot Chicken opened in the former Blaze Pizza spot in Hamburg.

Julietta Market, which is Lexington’s first indoor public market, opened inside Greyline Station with over 40 ever-changing vendors.

Kismet, which was once a popular pop-up concept, found a permanent spot at The Burl in June.

Leestown Coffee House opened on Leestown Road, featuring a drive-thru.

Old Kentucky Chocolates opened a new location with a drive-thru in the Palomar Shopping Center.

OV Bistro opened in the former Ranada’s Bistro & Bar location on Vine Street.

Pearl’s, known for its woodfired pizza, opened on select mornings to offer bagels and bagel sandwiches.

Pho Kytchen opened on Delaware Avenue inside the commisary kitchen at Pasta Garage.

The Rackhouse Tavern is the new restaurant inside The Campbell House Lexington, Curio Collection by Hilton on South Broadway.

Rickhouse Pub opened in the old five story Rickhouse on Manchester Street in the Distillery District.

Roulay Restaurant and Bar opened on West Short Street.

Taco Tico opened locations, including on Pimlico Pkwy and Southland Drive.

Texas Roadhouse on Richmond Road left its location next to Kroger and reopened across the street in the former Walmart parking lot.

Lexington’s first Tudor’s Biscuit World opened on New Circle Road near the Winchester Road corridor.


Year in Review: Transitions

Apiary Fine Catering & Events introduced OMAGE, an ever-changing dining experience in August.

Alfalfa closed indefinitely in March and reopened under new ownership in August.

Crank & Boom Ice Cream relocated from The Barn at The Summit to a new location on Clays Mill Road inside the former Lyles BBQ restaurant

The famous fried chicken didn’t return in 2020, but Critchfield Meats Family Market relocated to Southland Drive in November. 

Distilled relocated from its home at The Sire Hotel, formerly Gratz Park Inn, on Second Street and moved into the former Nick Ryan’s location on Jefferson Street.

The Fishtank found a home on the corner of Euclid and Woodland in the former Best Friend Bar location, which closed in May.

Bypass Liquor in Nicholasville rebranded as Happy Hour Liquor.

North Lime Donuts on Limestone moved two blocks up the street into Greyline Station.

Ranada’s Kitchen left its location on Vine Street, relocated to Ashland Avenue for a couple months before ultimately finding a home on the corner of Woodland and High, in the former Chatham’s.

Rise Up Pizza found a pop-up spot at Rockhouse Brewing on Wednesdays, offering “pay what you can” pizzas.

The Village Idiot closed and was rebranded as Postmaster’s Pub.


Year in Review: Obits

Athenian Grill closed on Locust Hill.

Bar Louie filed for bankruptcy and closed dozens of its locations, including the Lexington location at Fayette Mall.

The Barn at The Summit, Lexington’s first-ever food hall, closed.

Bella Forno, originally known as Crust, closed on Richmond Road.

Best Friend Bar on the corner of Euclid and Woodland closed.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza in Hamburg closed.

The Chop House on Richmond Road closed after more than 20 years in business.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que closed at The Summit.

Gather on Main, a coffee shop-meets-delicatessen-meets tap-house closed on East Main Street.

George’s Grocery and Deli, which anchored the corner of Short and North Limestone for almost 50 years, closed its store and full-service deli.

Hayden’s Stockyard Eatery closed at the Bluegrass Regional Marketplace. 

HopCat announced its permanent closure in September after a six month hiatus.

Locals’ Craft Food & Drink on the corner of Walton and National Avenue in Warehouse Block closed.

Lyles BBQ on Clays Mill Road closed.

Nick Ryan’s on Jefferson closed.

O’Charley’s on Nicholasville Road closed.

Orange Leaf at Brighton Place closed, leaving only one Orange Leaf location to remain in Lexington at Tiverton Way.

Parlay Social closed on West Short Street.

Portofino is closing after 21 years. Owner Wayne Masterman and his wife Susan, announced plans to retire once the restaurant’s lease is up in 2021.

Saul Good in downtown Lexington closed after eight years at its location on the corner of Broadway and Short Street.

Save-A-Lot on Southland Drive closed in July, taking with it a favorite deli destination for fried chicken in Lexington for the remaineder of 2020.


Year in Review: Coming Soon

Battle of the biscuits! Biscuit Belly, an innovative fast casual breakfast and brunch concept from Louisville, plans to expand into Lexington in 2021.

A seven-stall food hall is opening inside The Cornerstone. A Cup of Commonwealth opened in November, but other vendors to join in 2021 include Ethereal Brewing, Rolling Oven Pizza, Miyako Poke Bowl, a new ice cream and juice concept from Tomo Sushi, and more.

Louisville-based Goodwood is opening in the former Mellow Mushroom location at Lexington Green Circle.

Wm. Tarr Distillery is opening in the form of a still room, gift shop and bar in Pepper Rickhouse of Lexington’s Distillery District.


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